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Sunday, 5 July 2020

Dr. Fauci: It's 'pretty obvious' the US is not 'going in the right direction' to control the spread of coronavirus

The nation's top infectious disease expert said Thursday that the US is not headed in a positive direction when it comes to controlling the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"I think it's pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told JAMA in an interview.
Fauci then referenced the heated debate taking place between Democrats and Republicans over whether US states need to pause or continue moving forward with reopening plans amid a renewed surge in infections.
"There's this feeling of an all or none phenomenon, where you're either on lockdown or you're just going to say ... the devil may care and just let it all go," he said.
Fauci also said that research suggests the virus is now more infectious than it was before, but it does not necessarily make people sicker.
On Friday, the US reported 51,842 new cases, making it the third consecutive day that the country reported more than 50,000 new infections.

The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic in March. The US has reported a total of 2,795,437 cases of the disease and 129,438 deaths. The country saw a gradual decline in new cases after every state imposed some form of social distancing mandate or locked down businesses to curb the rapid spread of the virus.
But the number of new cases began climbing again after multiple states decided to begin reopening earlier than was recommended. White House guidelines said that states should see either a two-week decrease in new cases or a two-week decline in their share of positive coronavirus tests before reopening. But according to The New York Times, 18 out of the 30 states that began reopening as of May 7 were still seeing a daily uptick in new cases, while nine out of the 30 states did not have a decline in their share of positive tests.

Six states reopened without meeting any of the criteria: Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Nebraska, Utah, and Iowa.
Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California all reported record-high numbers of new cases this week; according to CNN, Florida reported nearly 9,500 new cases on Friday, and Texas reported 7,555 new cases after reporting around 8,000 new cases for two consecutive days.
Florida is reporting more new cases per day, on average, than any other state, CNN said, with California and Texas coming in a close second and third, respectively.

Multiple states have paused their reopening plans to mitigate the spread of the disease, while others have taken extra precautions to ensure they don't see a resurgence of new cases within their borders. Earlier this week, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut jointly announced that people who come from eight states with high numbers of new cases will be required to quarantine for two weeks.
Democratic lawmakers have joined public health officials in calling to once again impose stricter social distancing guidelines to continue curbing the spread of the coronavirus, while many Republicans say that continued lockdown measures will crater the US economy.
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has put out mixed messaging on handling the crisis. He touted the US's increased testing capabilities but has also repeatedly said that more testing is "overrated" and makes the country "look bad."

Last month, he held indoor rallies in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Phoenix, Arizona at which supporters were not required to wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines. Six staffers in Tulsa tested positive for the virus before Trump even took the stage, and two more staffers tested positive after returning to Washington, DC.
According to the Washington Post, dozens of Secret Service agents also had to self-quarantine after the Tulsa rally because two of the six people who tested positive before the rally were part of the agency.
Oklahoma also saw an increase in new cases in the days following Trump's Tulsa rally; and Arizona, where Trump addressed the Students for Trump organization at an indoor event in Phoenix, is also a new hotspot for the virus' resurgence.

On Friday, the president held an Independence Day fireworks celebration at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign who is also Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, tested positive for COVID-19 before the event began and is now self-isolating.
The European Union, meanwhile, has barred all travelers from the US as it begins cautiously reopening its borders because EU officials do not believe the country has done an adequate job of controlling the coronavirus outbreak. Travelers from Brazil and Russia will also not be allowed to enter the region.

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